Maddie Mullins thinks on her feet. She has to. At just 20 years old she’s recently entered the highly demanding and often emotionally draining world of the emergency department at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Parkville as a pediatric nurse and the stakes are high.
Completing her Bachelor of Nursing at Holmesglen in Moorabbin last year and securing a coveted position at this world-renowned facility is a real feather in the cap of a young lady who spent Year 12 travelling to Wantirna College from Mount Martha. That’s hours of travelling every day and may give you some idea of her determination. Now living in Altona North with her high school sweetheart Jaidyn Best, Maddie still calls Mount Martha, where her sister Chloe Milne lives, home, because home is where the heart is.
Maddie explains: “I moved out of my parents’ house and went to live with my sister and her husband Michael when I was 16, which didn’t make VCE easy. Chloe is like a second mum to me and I loved living in Mount Martha. I wasn’t sure which area of medicine I’d go into before getting the position at the Children’s. I thought I might try cosmetics and I have two sisters who are paramedics, but as soon as I had completed my first day of a six-week placement there I knew where I wanted to be. Before that I’d had both aged care and mental health placements, but I enjoy working in a fast-paced and diverse environment. Emergency offers that. Nothing stays the same and you keep learning. The only thing I’m concerned about is that people won’t take me seriously because I’m so young, but I’m confident I can give the answers that the parents of patients need. It’s very stressful being a mum or dad when your child is sick, and it’s important to keep them involved. The whole family needs looking after.”
Is she ever frightened by life-and-death situations? She continues: “I remember witnessing my first heart attack in second year and watching the nurse deal with it. She just clicked into gear and did what needed to be done. I really admired her approach. I want to be like that. Yes, it can be frightening, but when you are trained and know what you are doing it gives you so much satisfaction to help patients, especially kids.”
This kind of career is not for everyone for obvious reasons, and not everyone can land a job at The Royal Children’s Hospital either. Maddie continues: “It’s a hard job to get so I feel very lucky. The interview process is tough, including a medications test and lots of general questions, but somehow I got through. Nurses are good at debriefing and talking about their jobs so I’m sure I’ll be OK.”
And what does the workload look like for this sports fanatic and lover of blue English staffys? Maddie concludes: “It’s fine. Graduates are only allowed to do eight-hour shifts and do four days on and three days off.”
Sounds simple, yes?